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Best Fitness Trackers 2022


Fitness trackers have come a long way from the days of old when cutting edge models could count steps and keep track of calories burned. These days, the best fitness trackers can also push you to move more, monitor you heart rate, help you sleep and some can even save your life. Plus, today’s wearables feature smartphone notifications, stress tracking and blood-oxygen metrics, all of which play a pivotal role in your daily life.

And yet, choosing the right fitness tracker can prove daunting when you consider the many options currently available. Fitbit, the company that singled-handedly popularized the concept of fitness tracking, offers a slew of different models. And then there are other options to consider from Garmin, Coros, Polar and dozens of smaller brands. Truth be told, there’s never been a better selection of fitness trackers to choose from, but it pays to shop carefully, as not all trackers are designed for your needs.

No matter which fitness tracker you choose, there’s a good chance it’ll cover all the basics pretty well, but you might want extras like water resistance (great if you’re a swimmer), built-in GPS and specific sensors that cater to your personal needs. Ultimately, we consider the Fitbit Charge 5 to be the best fitness tracker overall, as it covers so many bases without burning a hole in your pocket, but it’s not the only option worthy of your attention.

Below, we’ve rounded up eight of the best fitness trackers you can buy today based on accuracy, features, price, battery life, ease of use, style and more. No matter where you are on your fitness journey, there’s a model here for you.


Best Fitness Tracker Overall

The One That Checks All The Boxes

Screen: AMOLED touchscreen | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 7 days | Compatibility: Apple, Android

The Fitbit Charge 5 captures the flag as the best overall fitness tracker because it represents, in many ways, the template from which all other trackers are created. The Charge 5 represents the culmination of everything Fitbit has learned about making wearables over the years, and includes pretty much everything the average person needs in a fitness tracker. It counts steps, distance and has sleep tracking features. It automatically recognizes when you’re doing a variety of common workouts and starts tracking—20 kinds of workouts in all. It’s waterproof to about 150 feet and you can wear it into a pool to track swim workouts.

The Charge 5 replaces the older Charge 4 and, like most modern wearables, includes a full-time heart rate monitor. You also get an impressive 7-day battery life, but the coolest change in the new Charge 5 is the sleek, vibrant screen that’s two times brighter than the Charge 4, and an always-on display mode that allows you to check your progress with just a glance.

Available in three color colors, other noteworthy features include irregular heart rhythm notifications, stress management scores, mood tracking and menstrual cycle tracking.

Pros:

  • Bright AMOLED display
  • Built-in GPS and GLONASS
  • Supports mobile payments

Cons:

  • No physical buttons
  • Clock faces can’t be customized

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Best Budget Fitness Tracker

Keep Tabs On The Essentials, Without Breaking The Bank

MOST POPULAR

Screen: HD AMOLED touchscreen | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: 18 days | Compatibility: Apple, Android

There’s no denying the fact that fitness trackers are expensive, but you can still get by with an affordable, capable option that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. For instance, the Amazfit Band 7 still features a brilliant screen, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking and an ultra-long 18-day battery, but it costs a mere $50.

Featuring a display that’s 112 percent larger than the previous generation Amazfit Band 5, software allows you to customize the watch face to your liking and you can even upload a series of personal photos. The waterproof housing is designed to withstand depths up to 50 meters, and a pool swimming mode can capture valuable swim data. If swimming isn’t really your thing, simply peruse 120 different sport modes to find your preferred activity.

All this isn’t to say the Band 7 is perfect. For instance, you’ll need to pair the tracker with your phone to use GPS, and there’s no option to store music for on-the-go listening. You’ll also need to use the Zepp app in order to view your personal metrics, so keep this in mind if you’re already using Strava, MyFitnessPal or another preferred fitness app.

Pros:

  • Impressive battery life for the price
  • Vibrant AMOLED screen
  • 120 activity modes

Cons:

  • No built-in GPS
  • Zepp app required to view metrics

Best Splurge Fitness Tracker

A Refined Smartwatch With All The Bells And Whistles

Screen: 240 x 240 display | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 7 days | Compatibility: Apple, Android

Polar has long lived in the shadow of its fitness rivals, Garmin and Fitbit, but the Finnish-based brand hit its stride in recent years thanks to high-end offerings like the Vantage V2. A capable blend of minimal and dynamic, it’s packed to the gills with serious tech that includes four forms of positional tracking, guided breathing exercises, training tests and an ultra-long battery mode that tracks activity for up to 100 hours. And of course, it has a price tag to match.

You’ll find almost every kind of sensor imaginable in the Vantage V2, including Sp02, caloric consumption, ECG and sleep monitoring. Much of that works automatically while you sleep—the Vantage V2 measures your movements and blood oxygen levels at night to make some general assessments about your health. Of course, the watch also has all the usual fitness and workout features, allowing it to track most forms of exercise along with step tracking and heart rate. The watch can even indicate when you should push a little bit harder during a workout to get the most out of your session.

While the Vantage V2 ships with a rather traditional display, it still has solid usability features. The screen is still bright and responsive, you have the ability to receive notifications, and it works with both Apple and Android phones. It also offers about 7 days of battery life between charges when you use it in watch mode.

Pros:

  • 100 hours of battery life via simplified GPS readings
  • Impressive sleep tracking features
  • Pairs with the Polar Heart Rate Chest Strap

Cons:

  • Unimpressive battery life in standard watch mode for the price
  • Limited app abilities

Best Fitness Tracker For Runners

Track Splits, Sprints, Sunday Marathons And More

Screen: Always-on memory LCD | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 20 days | Compatibility: Apple, Android

Sure, any fitness tracker with dedicated GPS could track your morning run, but the Coros Pace 2 stands out from the competition for a handful of reasons. First and foremost, it’s incredibly lightweight for its size, which means you won’t be fumbling with your watch when you’re trying to set a new personal best. Beyond the lightweight profile, it features a stronger processor and more memory space for add-on features. And the 20 days of battery life is paired with 30 hours of battery in GPS mode (a 20 percent increase from the original Coros Pace) and 60 hours in UltraMax GPS mode, all of which are respectable numbers whether you’re using the watch casually or competing in your first ultramarathon.

If running isn’t really your thing, the Pace 2 comes packed with a slew of other activity modes that target biking, swimming and strength training activities. And while many fitness trackers boast approximately 120 activity modes, this one comes packed with a staggering 200 exercises that allow you to target your upper body, lower body and core, and a muscle heatmap allows you to see which muscle groups receive the most action.

While it doesn’t feature an Spo2 sensor, the Pace 2 does come packed with an optical heart rate monitor, a barometric altimeter and a thermometer to keep an eye on body temperature in the midst of training.

Pros:

  • Strong battery life in GPS mode
  • Muscle heatmap helps you determine training options
  • Over 200 built-in strength training exercises

Cons:

  • Water resistant only up to 5 atm
  • Does not feature an Spo2 sensor

Best Fitness Tracker For Women

A Brilliant Fitness Tracker Designed With Women In Mind

Screen: 240 x 240 pixels | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 9 days | Compatibility: Apple, Android

Based on numbers alone, the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro is outstanding no matter how you decide to use it. Whether you’re tracking a run, hike or walk, the watch relies on an array of global navigation systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) to deliver accurate distance, elevation, speed and health data, while advanced training features like PacePro keep tabs on your pace and offer training advice to help you get the most out of every workout. Like all Garmin wearables, it comes packed with a litany of different workouts to choose from and can even advise you to help you get the most out of those post-exercise recovery sessions.

But perhaps most importantly, this watch (along with other Garmin watches) takes into account how different hormones affect women, helping you make sense of nutritional choices and fluctuating workouts over the course of any given month. Simply use the Garmin Connect app to interact with your personal stats whenever you need a little more info. As is the case with other fitness wearables, this one synchs with your phone to display your texts, calls and other notifications.

Pros:

  • Advanced GPS metrics for activities like trail running and skiing
  • Always-on feature still maintains long-lasting battery
  • Smaller face and strap compliments thinner wrists

Cons:

  • Navigating menus can be confusing
  • Very pricey

Best Fitness Tracker For Sleep

Maximize Your Restorative Slumber, Night After Night

Screen: AMOLED touchscreen | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 6 days | Compatibility: Apple, Android

Fitbit offers a deep bench of products—both fitness bands and smart watches. The Fitbit Sense is one of the brand’s more popular fitness watches, offering the most complete feature set in the Fitbit lineup. And it’s still moderately priced when compared to similar competition. If, however, you don’t need everything the Sense has to offer, you can save a solid chunk of change by getting the more affordable Versa 3. But keep in mind that if you do, you’ll miss out on some health features like stress testing and ECG monitoring.

The Sense comes packed with an impressive number of sensors, including Sp02, skin temperature sensing, ECG and sleep monitoring. Sleep tracking takes place automatically in the background—the Sense keeps track of your blood oxygen level and skin temperature to make general assessments about your health, but some of the more useful sleep tracking insights are hidden behind a paywall. The watch has all the usual fitness and workout features as well, from step counting to heart rate monitoring.

The Sense has solid usability features like a bright and responsive color touchscreen and voice commands via Alexa and Google Assistant, and works with both Apple and Android phones. It also offers about six days of battery life between charges.

Pros:

  • Impressive GPS tracking for the price
  • Well-rounded sleep tracking features

Cons:

  • Sleep tracking insights hidden behind a paywall
  • Dim always-on screen

Best Multisport Fitness Tracker

Unlock Your Inner Triathlete With This Talented Timepiece

Screen: Always-on touchscreen memory LCD | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 30 days | Compatibility: Apple, Android

Similar in many ways to the aforementioned Coros Pace 2, the Coros Apex Pro features a vibrant screen, incredible battery life (40 hours of battery using standard GPS and up to 75 hours in UltraMax GPS mode) and an optical heart rate monitor and thermometer. But because this is a dedicated multisport watch, Coros also packs it with five navigation systems, downloadable landscape and topo maps, and additional features such as back-to-start and off-route alert that come in handy beyond the beaten path. For instance, if you’re taking part in a competitive trail run series, simply download the course beforehand to stay on track even in the dead of night.

Unlike the Pace 2, the Apex Pro comes with an optical pulse oximeter to keep tabs on oxygen saturation, and the interface can be controlled via buttons along the bezel or by using the touchscreen display. Use the Find My Phone or Find My Watch feature in the event that you lose a piece of coveted tech, and receive notifications from your phone straight to your wrist.

Pros:

  • Quality build materials (sapphire glass, steel bezel, aluminum case)
  • Incredible battery life in GPS mode
  • Touchscreen display is easy to use and navigate

Cons:

  • Unstable heart rate monitor accuracy

Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker

A Smartwatch Built To Military Standards

Screen: 176 x 176 pixels | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 28 days | Compatibility: Apple, Android

Unlike other fitness trackers that feature a vibrant display and high-end materials, the Instinct 2’s bulky design looks more like the traditional watch you may have worn 10 years ago. But don’t let its outdated appearance fool you—this watch is actually designed to withstand impacts, shocks, heat and water in ways most fitness trackers simply can’t, a result of the fiber-reinforced polymer case and scratch-resistant glass built to military standards for toughness. While other watches are rated for depths up to 50 or 100 feet, the Instinct 2 still works over 300 feet below the surface.

Of course, this watch can do more than survive the next apocalypse. It comes packed with an array of sensors to monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation and stress levels. It features incredible battery life, receives notifications from your phone and the solar edition charges the battery in the sun. Over 100 activity modes keep tabs on your body when you’re getting active, and bold color options stand out from traditional fitness trackers. Whether you’re looking for you fitness tracker that can go where others can’t or simply like the look of a traditional design, the Instinct 2 is hard to beat.

Pros:

  • Incredible battery life
  • Water, thermal and shock resistance
  • Optional music integration downloads music to your wrist

Cons:

  • Pixelated display looks outdated
  • Optical heart rate monitor isn’t accurate over tattoos

How We Chose

Several Forbes Vetted journalists—each of whom have prodigious amounts of experience in the outdoors and fitness disciplines—had a hand in researching and writing this article. Many of the fitness trackers were personally tested by Forbes staff, while others came at the recommendation of fitness professionals and outdoor enthusiasts. We also scoured the internet in search of first-hand experience from users to get a better idea of the pros and cons of each wearable.


What Can Fitness Trackers Do?

Fitness trackers come in a variety of form factors—depending on the model, you can wear it like a bracelet or watch, clip it to your clothing, or even wear it like a ring on your finger. But no matter the exact appearance, fitness trackers all tend to offer the same basic set of features: They track your workouts and activity level, helping you to stay on a fitness plan and get (or keep) in shape.

The most basic fitness trackers are simply pedometers—devices that try to maintain an accurate count of your steps. But most modern fitness trackers do a lot more than that. These days, they’re often bristling with sensors which collect information to infer your fitness and health level. Here are the most common sensors found in fitness trackers:

  • Accelerometer. This measures motion, and is often the primary sensor used to ascertain activity levels.
  • Altimeter. Many fitness trackers measure changing air pressure to infer that you are using stairs.
  • Heart rate sensor. With the right sensors, your tracker can measure your heart rate, heart rate variability and even blood pressure.
  • Sp02 sensor. This measures the oxygen level in your blood.
  • ECG sensor. An ECG sensor can perform an instant electrocardiogram, which measures your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. Generally, an ECG tells you if you have a sinus, or uniform, rhythm, or some other result. In no case can or should an ECG be used to detect a heart attack, though.

All of these sensors, and sometimes others, can help you choose and track workouts as well as get a lot of supplemental information about your health and wellness. They can also track your sleep, stress level and other factors of good health.


What To Look For In A Fitness Tracker

Buying a new fitness tracker isn’t just a financial investment, it’s a step toward improving your overall health. That’s why it’s crucial to find a tracker that integrates with your daily life, and at the very least, comes with basic features that let you track what’s most important to you.

Activity Modes

Not all trackers can recognize all exercises. For instance, if you want to track swim workouts, be sure to look not just for a tracker that’s waterproof, but also one that explicitly supports swimming. Likewise, only a handful of trackers support really unusual sports and workouts—so if you’re into hang gliding or BMX, be sure to look into options like the Vivosmart 4. When considering different models, be sure to narrow down your options by reflecting on the various activities you’d like to track.

Sensors

Most modern fitness bands track a variety of broader health and fitness attributes as well. We’ve already discussed features like Spo2, ECG and bioelectric impedance sensors, and these are generally far from mandatory—but increasingly, all but the most budget models are starting to sport these sorts of advanced sensors. Just keep in mind that a lot of the whole-body analytics you get from sensors like these are often not especially actionable; you might get a general sense of your overall health, fitness level or sleep quality, but it can be hard to know what to do to improve. Until that aspect of the software catches up to the hardware, you can consider all of these advanced features pretty optional.

Battery Life

Depending on the build quality, available sensors and screen resolution, battery life can last anywhere from one day to several months. If you intend to use your fitness tracker as a traditional pedometer, you can probably get by with a model that features a smaller battery. But if you intend to use it over prolonged periods of time (for instance, when backpacking or running a marathon), consider opting for a model that features extended battery life or solar charging to supplement the battery in direct sunlight.

Accuracy

As much as we’d like trackers to be completely accurate, third-party testing reveals that this is rarely the case. Manufacturers often rely on algorithms and sensors to track certain metrics, which leads to a small degree of error. With this in mind, consider investing in a fitness tracker that’s designed to support your preferred activities. For instance, a chest strap that measures your heart rate and transmits data to your fitness tracker will be more accurate than the integrated heart rate sensor glued to your wrist.


Which Brand Offers The Best Fitness Tracker?

As tempting as it might be to crown one fitness tracker as superior to all others, in reality, it’s entirely dependent on what you hope to gain by using one. If you intend to count your steps, the best fitness tracker may be a simple, more economical option. But if you’re looking for one that’ll help you form healthier habits, from moving more to sleeping better, then you might consider a model with all the bells and whistles.

Be sure to consider what type of activity you’ll use it for. For instance, if you plan to go for a bike ride, opt for one with GPS. Or, if you plan to go swimming, pick one that’s waterproof. That may sound like a broad answer given the available options, but the brands listed here (Fitbit, Garmin, Coros, etc.) will offer an array of features and long-term reliability.

Which Fitness Tracker Is The Most Accurate?

There are myriad things that fitness trackers, well, track. This might include steps, heart rate (both active and resting), calories burned, hours slept (and quality of sleep), floors climbed, workout routes, pace and beyond.

One study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research states that, generally, “Mainstream devices are able to reliably measure heart rate, number of steps, distance and sleep duration, which can be used as effective health evaluation indicators, but the measurement accuracy of energy consumption is still inadequate. Fitness trackers of different brands vary with regard to measurement of indicators and are all affected by the activity state, which indicates that manufacturers of fitness trackers need to improve their algorithms for different activity states.”

Ultimately, this is another question that has no one-size-fits-all answer. From one activity to the next, from one health metric to another, fitness trackers have become incredibly reliable tools over the past decade, but the information they provide is a snapshot of your well being—not the entire picture.

What Is The Best Fitness Tracker For A Beginner?

The best fitness tracker for beginners is one you’ll actually use. After all, it’s about developing those health habits. Look for one that is comfortable to wear, natural to use, has a long battery life and fits your personal style. And, if you struggle to see words on a small screen, perhaps choose a fitness tracker that is connected to an app (so you can view stats on your phone).



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